Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Vitamin C
Name: dianecederlund  
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

I have a student who would like some information about vitamin C. What are the key words associated with this topic?

Key words: Ascorbic Acid, water soluble, collagen formation (hydroxylation of amino acids proline and lysine), removal of ammonia, cholesterol metabolism, enhanced absorption or protection of folacin. Deficiency leads to scurvy (takes several months on a " C free diet"). All animals need it, but only primates (humans includes), guinea pigs, fruit bats, and an Indian bird cannot make it so it is required in the diet. Any good nutrition or biochemistry college text will have plenty of information.

Lou Harnisch

Vitamin C is also recognized as the body's main water-soluble ANTIOXIDANT. This means that it is able to quench dangerous molecules called FREE RADICALS in the body. When too many free radicals accumulate in the body, they may damage cells by setting up chain reactions which destabilize the body. This process is called OXIDATION. So, the words antioxidant, free radicals, and oxidation may also help in the search. Current medical research shows that vitamin C and other antioxidants are very promising to prevent conditions which may be caused by oxidation (such as atherosclerosis, cataracts, cancer, arthritis). Other antioxidants are vitamin E, beta- carotene, selenium, niacin, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, etc.


Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory